Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

As you may have heard, New York's state legislature recently passed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. A similar bill was attempted in 2010, but didn't pass the Republican controlled state Senate. This year, 29 Democrats and four Republicans voted for the bill. One of those four Republicans was one of the leaders in killing the bill in 2010, and another of those four is a freshman Republican.

While this is a historic time for marriage equality, my fear is that a victory such as this might motivate the opponents of marriage equality into an all out frenzy. Last I checked, 30 states have passed state constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage, and most of the remaining 20 are in the process of passing them. This victory in New York could become a rallying point for the Moral Majority crowd out there, and lead to not only getting these amendments on ballots across the country, but turning it into a national issue during a Presidential election year.

And before someone comes along and tells me the latest polling saying that most Americans support marriage equality, I think it's a bit misleading. While that might make a good case for general society's acceptance of the LGBT community, that doesn't necessarily correlate with political reality. I suspect that the shifting attitudes in same-sex marriage and other LGBT related issues comes from polling young people, 18-20something and either in or just out of college. If a poll is taken of registered voters about same-sex marriage, I suspect it would be different than what it would be than if you polled the general population.

CORRECTION: I originally wrote that "all" Democrats in the New York state Senate voted for the legalization of same-sex marriage. While I haven't reviewed the exact roll call, reading over various articles from New York media, a handful of Democrats did vote against it.

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